November 29, 2001

Man is, and forever has been, God's reflection.

Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy

To be innocent, we discovered among the possibilities, is to be guiltless, guileless, inoffensive and even ignorant. As a human concept, innocence is relative; for instance, those who killed thousands September 11th were martyrs or terrorists and therefore innocent or not depending on which side we're on.

Rollo May cautions about "pseudoinnocence", which consists of blocking the awareness of evil in ourselves and others (also known as denial) and "ideal love" vs. understanding for our enemies as well as our friends — leading to compassion, pity and charity (see Meeting the Shadow, page 173).

Our readings show that Christian Science is tentative about innocence on the human belief or relative level. See particularly the quote from Unity of Good where absolute reality misperceived leads to severe squabbles. And how about this gem from Science and Health: "EUPHRATES (river)....The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity." (p. 585:19) In other words, the so-called "fall" just waiting to happen, while innocence still prevails.

The denial and ideal love referred to by Rollo May are not the deeply felt Christian Science tool of denial leading to an experience of divine Love, the basis for true innocence and healing.

As we forgive our debtors we find in turn we can be forgiven. Thus we move beyond the dualities of mortal existence to divine innocence, where human guilt no longer rules and instantaneous reformation can occur.

Members found some revolutionary statements of Science in the Bible and the works of Mary Baker Eddy to jar consciousness loose from its material moorings, to expand into the infinite where true innocence can be experienced. The readings provide descriptions of true law, Egoism vs. egotism, preexistence, and the energies represented by the Lamb of God.

One member asked the others to explain what they meant by the word "sin". The answers were "separation from God", "being cut off from God", "bouncing around in the relative", "being out of alignment with our absolute source", and "personal sense".

Questions like, "Am I sinning if I have sex with someone besides my significant other?" and "Is smoking a sin?" could not be answered directly, but there was some support for the view that such problems could be resolved by "taking them to the absolute". Thus the divine idea behind sexual attraction (wholeness?) or smoking (peace?) would do the work, which frail mortal opinions certainly could not.

Indeed one member felt human opinions must not be leaned on. While we can't help having them and hearing them from others, they keep us on a level of thought which is addictive. If unchallenged and deconstructed with the absolute facts, they'll lull us, until a really important opinion rears its "crocodile jaws and drags us to our death". Is that sufficient warning?

A medical case was discussed briefly. All its participants were seen as divinely innocent: patient, medical staff, drug companies, family, friends, viruses, genes, and so on. No evil ever occurred nor is possible in these divine ideas. Diagnoses and prognoses are dictated by the one Cause.

As our hour ended we were just getting started on a discussion about the innocence of relationships formed before puberty. The addition of sexuality in adolescence complicated things. For decades in some cases. Could we bring out Sexual Innocence now? That's the assignment we've given ourselves this week.

The Bible

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. #Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy

The time approaches when mortal mind will forsake its corporeal, structural, and material basis, when immortal Mind and its formations will be apprehended in Science, and material beliefs will not interfere with spiritual facts.

We have no trials for sickness before the tribunal of divine Spirit. There, Man is adjudged innocent of transgressing physical laws, because there are no such laws. Our statute is spiritual, our Government is divine.

The forbidden fruit of knowledge, against which wisdom warns man, is the testimony of error, declaring existence to be at the mercy of death, and good and evil to be capable of commingling. This is the significance of the Scripture concerning this "tree of the knowledge of good and evil,"—this growth of material belief, of which it is said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Human hypotheses first assume the reality of sickness, sin, and death, and then assume the necessity of these evils because of their admitted actuality. These human verdicts are the procurers of all discord.

The beast and the false prophets are lust and hypocrisy. These wolves in sheep's clothing are detected and killed by innocence, the Lamb of Love.

Divine Science shows how the Lamb slays the wolf. Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error. Ever since the foundation of the world, ever since error would establish material belief, evil has tried to slay the Lamb; but Science is able to destroy this lie, called evil.

LAMB OF GOD. The spiritual idea of Love; self-immolation; innocence and purity; sacrifice.

To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.

Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.—JOHN i. 12, 13.

When we understand man's true birthright, that he is "born, not . . . of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," we shall understand that man is the offspring of Spirit, and not of the flesh; recognize him through spiritual, and not material laws; and regard him as spiritual, and not material. His sonship, referred to in the text, is his spiritual relation to Deity: it is not, then, a personal gift, but is the order of divine Science. The apostle urges upon our acceptance this great fact: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." Mortals will lose their sense of mortality—disease, sickness, sin, and death—in the proportion that they gain the sense of man's spiritual preexistence as God's child; as the offspring of good, and not of God's opposite,—evil, or a fallen man.

Perhaps no doctrine of Christian Science rouses so much natural doubt and questioning as this, that God knows no such thing as sin. Indeed, this may be set down as one of the "things hard to be understood," such as the apostle Peter declared were taught by his fellowapostle Paul, "which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest . . . unto their own destruction."

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